Gardening: Pastime or Survival Skill?

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Adore this essay "Lessons from My Grandmother" by Gayla Trail of You Grow Girl.

Before gardening was a pleasure and a sunny afternoon pastime, gardening was, for many women, a norm and a necessity.


In Gayla's essay, she outlines the way her grandmother's approach to gardening may have helped create the foundation for her own passion for gardening—even despite the fact that her grandmother's approach to gardening was with a tedium much like you and me might approach, say, washing the daily dishes.

From Gayla's essay:

"Did she grow plants for pleasure, for purpose, or simply because it was second nature? After all, my grandmother came from a place where growing food (especially among poor people like herself) is just what people did. There was no fuss. It wasn't a big deal or a greatly considered act, you just did it as a way to make use of what you had available and improve your quality of life."

This essay comes during a complex shifting of the times—a time when, ready or not, old survival skills are becoming new necessities. As we all watch as the economy worsens, many ordinary people are headed to the vegetable garden, not just for pleasure but to actually cut down their grocery bills and feed their families. More and more gardens across the nation are becoming necessary again. So, as newly struggling Americans circle back to the garden's original roots, Gayla's essay made a kind of sense it might not have a few years ago.


+++ Have you seen gardens becoming more a necessity than a pastime in your families or neighborhoods?


gardening, inspirations

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Reener Reener

I love gardening. I have a many gardens and a vegetable garden. I've often thought about taking that a step further. I love to grow pumpkins and I do have the space. Stealing an idea from a farmer in Lancaster, PA, I was thinking of growing a bunch and selling them for $1 each, no matter what size. That's what this farmer does in Lancaster. He does have larger pumpkins, but he sells them for maybe $2! He has SO many! And he does a great business! What a concept! I've paid over $20 for 3 pumpkins! They're just pumpkins! So I'm considering doing that. The extra money would be nice, may not be a huge amount and it's always fun to get a deal. I'm sure people would love to buy a pumpkin for $1! In this day and age? Definitely.


Whether gardening is becoming a necessity, I think it's slowly becoming that. More and more people are health conscience about pessticides and eating more organic foods. Growing your own, you can control what goes into your garden. I don't add ANYTHING but chicken poop and maybe some leaves from last fall. Other than that, it's purely organic. You do have to know alittle about crop rotation and what crops take and what leave nurtrients in the soil. And it saves money. Every little bit counts. If you can grow and can your tomatoes or freeze green beans, eggplant, and corn, then you're ahead of the game.  But I think it's definitely something that's slowly becoming a necessity.

shaye shaye

I have tried my hand at growing stuff before, and have failed.  But my ultimate dream is to live in the middle of no where, and grow most of our own food.  I have alot of ground to cover before that can happen though... LOL    I do think more should, and that it is going to be a needed skill eventually.

michi... michiganmom116

I'm in my 40's and we've had a garden every year, including when I was a child.  We preserve everything we don't eat fresh.  I have figured that I saved over $500 per year in food costs just by preserving the produce. 


Veggies can be grown in containers like window boxes and flower pots...sure, not a LOT of veggies, but anything is better than nothing.  I think with the recession that we'll see more people trying their hand at gardening.

girl_... girl_in_the_D

I am in the process of having 2 huge planter boxes built in my back yard..about 6ft X 3 ft  each and i am going to plant all kinds of veggies this year. I spread out my seed catalogues last night to decide what to plant..i cant wait! I love the idea of saving money and having fresh food in my own backyard

SanDi... SanDiegoMaxMom

I grow food pretty much year round.  My parents and grandparents before them also grew their own...nothing tastes better!   I feel wasteful if I'm not growing something as I have the means to do so all year long.  It's a useful hobby for me...I don't see that we're saving money, but we're eating organic stuff.

wyatt... wyattabigailmom

We love to garden wether it be big flower garden or the huge veg. garden we plant every year.


I look foward to spring so much I love to get out and dig and plant new things.  we have had a veg. garden for many years and I grew up with one my entire childhood.  we have expanded over the years and every year we learn something new and plant new things so that we may try them out.  My children really enjoy getting out there also and truly enjoy the fruits of our labor.


I love being able to put up veggies and have our own home grown veggies thruout the year. Also it provids me with peace of mine that I know what went into growing that paticular veggie and have no worries about the food that my children are putting in their mouths.  When my daughter was a baby I used lots of veggies from our garden and my fathers garden for her home made baby food.

2prot... 2protectivemom

I love to garden.   We also have a couple of apple trees, a pear tree, and grape vines, and this year I am going to plant some raspberries,  and blueberries.  It not only saves money, but we get to eat so much healthier.  My sister bought me a juicer for Christmas too, so I can't wait to try that out ! 

Momma... MommaTasha1003

I am wanting to garden so bad. As a kid my parents had one for a few years until mom went went to work.. This year I am testing myself with tomatoes & strawberries & am getting so much confusing info about strawberries...


I want to learn! My mom doesnt remember much about gardening & I dont know anyone to learn from! I know gardening is different depending on where you live so I never know about websites.. I need to be someones apprentice cause I learn better from doing/following ! lol

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